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Worship
What Does a Worship Leader Do? Part 2
By Bob Kauflin
Director of Worship Development, PDI Ministries
June 17, 2002

It's not just "worship leading." It's leading people. The question is, in what direction?

PDI Ministries -
In the first of this series on the role and goals of a worship leader, I proposed this definition:

An effective worship leader, aided and led by the Holy Spirit, skillfully combines biblical truth with music to magnify the worth of God and the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, thereby motivating the gathered church to join him in proclaiming and cherishing the truth about God and seeking to live all of life for the glory of God.

What does it mean to be a leader? When someone takes a position in front of a group of people, he or she will, to one degree or another, be leading, whether intentionally or not. Romans 12:6 says leaders must lead with zeal (ESV), or govern diligently (NIV). Both phrases speak of faithfully seeking to direct a meeting. The first duty of a worship leader is to take on that responsibility cheerfully.

Congregational worship in spirit and truth doesn’t just “happen.” God can at any moment choose to manifest His presence in our midst, but He has identified specific activities and attitudes to which He generally responds. Critical words, for example, quench the Spirit, while praise invites His activity and involvement. Thus, there must be intentionality and purpose behind what a worship leader does.

Everything ultimately GLORIFIES God (for example, all sin and rebellion is eventually judged by God, thus magnifying His holiness)…but not everything WORSHIPS God. Worship is all I know of me RESPONDING to all God has shown me of Himself. This response involves a choice, and the use of my mind, will, and emotions. Thus, everything a worship leader does should encourage that response in the people he is leading.

Since we’re leading people (and not just “leading worship”), we need to be clear on what direction we’re taking them in. It’s easy to overuse vague phrases that sound good but don’t necessarily define where we’re going or what we’re doing. For example, In recent years “entering in” has become synonymous with the corporate worship experience. But what do we mean by that phrase? Are we entering in to some mindless, automatic-pilot state of ecstasy? Are we perhaps passing through the outer courts of worship to enter in to the holy of holies?

Both concepts are commonly voiced today. But did you know that neither one finds support in Scripture?

First, worship is neither automatic nor mindless – it’s intentional, purposeful, and very much involves the mind. And second, Jesus has already entered the holy of holies for us (Heb. 10:19-22). The purpose of worship is to enter in to a fresh awareness of who God is, what He has done, and how that affects our past, present, and future.

Finally, a worship leader’s task involves leading people effectively. We should expect good fruit from our labors. Worship leading is not a hit-or-miss proposition. God desires to bless us with His manifest presence when we gather to worship Him.

When we moved into our new home several years ago, my family’s yard was a wasteland. But each fall I aerated, fertilized, and planted grass seed. In the spring I applied fertilizer and weed killer. For a few years it seemed like not much was happening. But here we are five years later with a full lawn. What happened? I sowed, and tended, and then I reaped.

So it is with worship. If we want God’s people to glorify Him, we must sow to His glory. We must paint a compelling, attractive, grand, biblical picture of our great God and Savior.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Next time we’ll look at the importance of the Holy Spirit in leading worship effectively.

For His Glory,

Bob

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